Related topics: climate change · earth · climate models · climate · sunlight

Clouds with a chance of warming

Researchers from Argonne's Environmental Science division participated in one of the largest collaborative atmospheric measurement campaigns in Antarctica in recent decades.

Observing clouds in four dimensions

While easily seen by people, the cotton-ball clouds (called shallow cumulus clouds) that drift overhead on partly cloudy days are hard for radars and many other instruments to observe and, therefore, hard to model and predict. ...

4 billion-year-old relic from early solar system heading our way

An enormous comet—approximately 80 miles across, more than twice the width of Rhode Island—is heading our way at 22,000 miles per hour from the edge of the solar system. Fortunately, it will never get closer than 1 billion ...

Curiosity rover captures shining clouds on Mars

Cloudy days are rare in the thin, dry atmosphere of Mars. Clouds are typically found at the planet's equator in the coldest time of year, when Mars is the farthest from the Sun in its oval-shaped orbit. But one full Martian ...

page 1 from 40

Cloud

A cloud is a visible mass of droplets or frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or another planetary body. A cloud is also a visible mass attracted by gravity, such as masses of material in space called interstellar clouds and nebulae. Clouds are studied in the nephology or cloud physics branch of meteorology.

On Earth the condensing substance is typically water vapor, which forms small droplets or ice crystals, typically 0.01 mm in diameter. When surrounded by billions of other droplets or crystals they become visible as clouds. Dense deep clouds exhibit a high reflectance (70% to 95%) throughout the visible range of wavelengths. They thus appear white, at least from the top. Cloud droplets tend to scatter light efficiently, so that the intensity of the solar radiation decreases with depth into the gases, hence the gray or even sometimes dark appearance at the base. Thin clouds may appear to have acquired the color of their environment or background and clouds illuminated by non-white light, such as during sunrise or sunset, may appear colored accordingly. In the near-infrared range, clouds look darker because the water that constitutes the cloud droplets strongly absorbs solar radiation at those wavelengths.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA